Cast Away

 

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Mark Twain

Have you ever felt a deep longing to do something, but fear held you back?

I’ve always wanted to live a simple life on a beautiful tropical island. I tried it once with my husband when we were young. We loved it so much that I wanted to try it again with our kids. I wanted to immerse them in the peace and beauty of nature, to nurture an appreciation for the little things in life. That was my dream.

Then the Great Recession hit. It was a time of stress and sickness, a time of loss. But somewhere deep inside me a glimmer of light flickered in the form of a feeling, a craving, a question:

Why can’t we live our dreams?

The more I thought about it, the lighter I felt. Then it hit me…

We’d already sold our house and most of our possessions. Why not Go with the Flow? Why not sell it all?

Why not sell it all and live our tropical island dream with the kids?

But I had to sell the idea to my pragmatic husband first. I needed a pitch, an angle, a hook. Hmmm… What could it be? What was my hook?

Hook. That was it! Fishing was my hook.

You see my husband, Brian, is an obsessed saltwater fly fisherman. For him, casting a fly to a tailing bonefish on a shimmering, tropical flat is a potent stress buster, a powerful form of meditation.

I had my hook. Now all I had to do was cast out my line. The conversation went something like this…

“Bri-an,”

“Yes?”

“I was thinking…”

“Oh no.”

Nervous chuckle.

“How would you like to live in a place where you could fish for bonefish every day?”

“There are no bonefish here.”

“Yes, I know.” Pause. “But what if we lived in a place where there are bonefish? Somewhere hot and tropical with beautiful, crystal-clear flats?”

“We can’t afford it.”

“But what if I have a way to afford it? “

Direct eye contact.

“Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…” I could almost hear the reel scream.

That was the short version of my pitch. Of course there were many other conversations, but generally the whole process was easier than I thought.

Instantly the energy shifted. Instead of serious resignation and a sense of defeat, we felt an almost child-like excitement. A spark ignited. The spark of adventure.

Three months later we packed eight bags, swapped our cell phones for fly rods and moved to a tiny, tropical island in the Bahamas. It was then that I realized:

Loss can lead to living your dreams.

Change your attitude. Change your life.

So if you really crave something, cast away and see if you can catch it. Don’t spend your life wondering… what if? Don’t let regret rule.

You really can live your dreams. It’s all up to you.

Live light and live happy.

Karen

Go with the Flow

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.

Lao Tzu

Think back through your life. Can you remember a time when you wanted something so desperately but obstacles kept thwarting your path?

Did you ever consider that perhaps you were being guided in another direction?

Sometimes all we need to do is tweak our perspective and try a fresh approach. It can mean the difference between swimming against the current and floating effortlessly downstream.

When things kept going “wrong” in my life and I lost the things I thought were secure, I reacted with knee-jerk panic and fear. Too scared to let go, I clung to my comfortable, privileged life. I was terrified of change. But one thing after another continued to collapse around me. Finally I felt like I had nothing left to lose.

So I decided to try something different…

I decided to Go with the Flow. We’d already lost our home in a fire sale. Why not keep going? Hell, why not sell it all?

Why not swap our stressful and expensive life in the suburbs for a simple life in a beautiful place doing what we love?

So we did.

We sold our cars and most of our possessions. We uprooted our kids and our geriatric cat, packed eight bags, and moved to a tiny tropical island in the Bahamas.

It was one of the best things we have ever done in our lives.

From the moment we made the decision to Go with the Flow, instantly I felt the energy shift. Instead of everything going wrong, suddenly things seemed to click.

In my next post I’ll share how stripping away the clutter in our lives can set us free.

Until then,

Go with the Flow.

It seems like a small change but it can make a big difference.

Sink or Swim

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“It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.”

Joseph Campbell

Welcome to my first post.

If you’ve read my “About” page, you’ll know my main mission for this blog. It’s all about helping people. Lately I’ve learned many lessons in my life, lessons I wish I’d learned a long time ago. Now I want to help you by sharing these experiences.

In this post I want to talk about transforming what we might judge as a negative life event into a positive force for change.  Instead of sinking into the depths of panic and fear, we can swim to the light.

Let’s begin with an idea:

Bad luck can sometimes be good luck in disguise. We just don’t know it until we look back.

Think about it.

How many times has a life event devastated you, yet later, with new perspective, you feel intense gratitude for that same experience?

Perhaps something good came out of it. Perhaps you learned something about yourself or it nudged you in a different direction. Like the time you didn’t score your “dream” job, but later found a more rewarding career on an unplanned path. Or the time you stressed yourself out because something made you late for an important event, only to discover you dodged a fatal crash on the freeway.

What if every time something “bad” happens we take a different approach? Instead of reacting with fear and fretting about things that are out of our control, we could ask ourselves what we can learn from the event. It can also help to tell ourselves that things happen for a reason. We might not know the reason right now. But one day we may understand and be grateful for the changes.

Like everyone, I’ve had some “bad luck” in my life. It was a time of loss, a time of fear. A time when life stripped away everything I thought was secure.

When the Great Recession struck, all the material things I thought were safe collapsed around me, one by one. Every time we lost something, I clung in fear to what we had left.

When sales sank at our business, I told myself, At least we still have a beautiful home. Soon we had to sell that beautiful home in a fire sale.

But I didn’t give up. When it looked as though we might lose everything, I told myself, At least we’re all healthy. The next day my husband, Brian, was diagnosed with a melanoma.

That’s when I fell to my knees.I didn’t know what to think anymore. I didn’t know what to believe.

Perhaps you have been at this stage in your life too. Perhaps the same questions were running through your mind:

Why is this happening? Why now? Why me? 

Looking back, I think I know why this happened, and I am filled with gratitude. But at the time, I was overcome with panic and fear. It wasn’t until I took a deep breath, and looked at my life in a different way, that I saw light in the darkness.

After months of fear-induced nausea, I made a choice to stop acting like a victim. Instead I vowed to use those “negative” events to make a positive change. It was a simple change but it had a powerful impact. And I quickly learned I could apply it to every facet of my life.

This small change led to big things. It helped me simplify my life and live my dream of moving to a beautiful, tropical island with my family.

Stay tuned and I’ll share it with you in my next post.

Karen